Archives for posts with tag: Mastectomy

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I have concerns about Angelina Jolie’s lifestyle and I still respect her healthcare decision.

I acknowledge the possibility that she made her announcement because she loves attention and I still respect her healthcare decision.

I have researched the problem of over-treatment of breast cancer and I still respect her healthcare decision.

I know that hospitals have money-making as well as helping people goals and I still respect her healthcare decision.

I disagree with the priorities and politics of the Komen Foundation and I still respect her healthcare decision.

I believe that the obsession with Angelina Jolie’s youth and beauty is detrimental to girls and I still respect her healthcare decision.

I am angry with Myriad Labs for patenting genes and I still respect her healthcare decision.

I could go on and on but I will end with this. I have been planning to write a post describing my decision to have a right-side rather than a bilateral mastectomy. I know the title of the post and I already have my research references lined up.

Why haven’t I written it?

I haven’t written it because I don’t want to invite feedback that is not respectful of my personal healthcare decision. And even more importantly, I do not want to unintentionally give any of the breast cancer people out there the message that I am questioning your personal healthcare decisions because mine were different than yours.

We are all people and all individuals. We can make different decisions and still respect each other. It doesn’t matter whether we are in the “pink crowd” or not.  Breast cancer prevention and treatment options are still gray. I made my treatment choices. Time will tell whether I made the right decisions but to me, they seemed the best decisions I could make based on the information that was available at the time. We are individuals, we have brains, and we have the right to make decisions that we believe are best for us.

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This post is inspired by Mogatos, the author of the excellent blog, Saying Nope to Breast Cancer.  She is in her early 30’s and had a prophylatic bilateral mastectomy due to her high genetic risk of breast cancer. Mogatos is a very courageous person who is helping lots of women. She has created a photo diary of her physical transformation since her mastectomy surgery in January. If you are interested in the two stage tissue expander/implant reconstruction process, I particularly recommend the site to you. Mogatos even painstakingly lists the costs of her medical care. Once I’m done with one of my medical bills, I don’t ever want to see it again.

I have had a request or two to see my reconstruction. I’m sorry to say that I am not evolved enough to share more than a photo of my belly button to the blogisphere. However, I have put together a visual showing my surgical process. Although breast cancer isn’t funny, using humor to cope with its threat is serious business.

smiley3

 

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I had my first follow-up appointment with Dr. Welk, today. He was extremely pleased with how I am healing and how good my reconstruction looks. He told Marilyn, his nurse that my reconstruction may have topped the reconstruction he did for her. She was very happy for me. I guess she is happy with her 14 year run as having received Dr. Welk’s best TRAM reconstruction work. Anyway, he called me his “star pupil”, which is pretty funny. Just the crack to which a lady with a Ph.D. is addicted. I mean, up to this point, my breast has been getting low grades. It was bringing down my life GPA.

Seriously, it is so nice to have something go easier than expected, after so many things have not. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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This post is from 8/7/12, the day before my right-side mastectomy. So I am reposting it now on the day before I have my reconstructive surgery and will get a new breast. I’ve had a plastic or foam breast for seven months.

Tomorrow is the day that I say goodbye to rightie, the ta to my other ta, the oonga to my baz, and the crenshaw to my honeydew. And you don’t have to tell me that it’s sad because I already know. I do need to move forward and the sooner I have this surgery, the sooner I can get over the next round of painful and yucky stuff. My outward appearance with go from Elizabeth 1.0 to Elizabeth 2.0 to Elizabeth 3.0 by the time the holiday season comes upon us. (Just pretend that I was never a baby and I started out life as a 46 year old woman. Be creative.)

Elizabeth 1.0 did have a proper send off today. As I walked into Trader Joe’s, I received not one, but two compliments from the Trader Joe’s employee who was working out front. First he said, “Have a good time shopping” followed by, “I like your dress.” He may have even been younger than me. As an extra bonus, he was not one of the drunk guys at the bus shelter in the Junction, ergo the flirting was not the least bit creepy or boundary violating. The bus guys seem to be my main fan club. (And drunk guys, I haven’t heard a lot from you lately. Middle aged ladies need a little encouragement.) So hey, Elizabeth 1.0, you still got it and with a sober guy, too!

I am not going to be bringing my computer to the hospital tomorrow so I may not post anything until I get home on Thursday. John may have his computer and if I am mentally with-it enough I may be able to get him to post on my behalf. Otherwise, please be patient. I’m not sure what I am going to be up for communication-wise for a couple of days. I am confident that surgery will go well and even though it is likely to hurt for awhile and to be very upsetting, I will be okay. During my meeting with Dr. Beatty last Thursday I said, “I’m going to thank you now because next time I see you I may have lost perspective.” His reply was, “No, you won’t.” He’s probably right.

Goodbye, Girl; hello, long and healthy life.

The Trader Joe’s guy has an affinity for prints, apparently. I do think I looked better in this dress for the obvious reason. My whole head showed rather than being semi-headless like this model. To have an entire head is more aesthetically pleasing. I learned that in my art history classes. I do like her earrings, though. Buy your own dress at http://www.sierratradingpost.com/chetta-b-jersey-print-dress-v-neck-short-sleeve-for-women~p~4059u/?filterString=womens-dresses~d~257%2F&colorFamily=02

This blog was posted on 8/1/12. This stressful period of my life was good comedy material, prompting my brother to quip, “Cancer has made you clever.”

You remember who was in the chorus of the Gene Wilder musical classic? Yes, the Oompa Loompas. And what color were the Oompa Loompas? Yes, they were orange. And what color were my roots after using an unfortunate shade of Clairol Natural Instincts? Yes, they were a very deep shade of overripe cantalope. “Natural” Instincts, my ass!

I’ve never messed up a hair color before but I haven’t done it myself for several years and apparently, Clairol Natural Instincts uses a totally different formula than they did when I last used their products. And they are on a melon kick! Not to be seen in public (other than going to Target to get a fix for this), I used a non-permanent, normal looking reddish brown dye today. Ah, much better. Most of the melon is gone.

The Oompa Loompas would say that my parents are to blame for this mishap (“…the mother and the fa-ather”). However, the same thing happened to my mom and she warned me about it. When did I remember this? After I rinsed the color out of my hair! So, I’ve decided to blame Roald Dahl.

It will be so nice to be able to go back to the salon. It will happen.

P.S. The color was just like this except MORE orange. No lie.

The Oompa Loompas after disobeying their lax parents in the Clairol Factory and falling into a vat of Natural Instincts “Dark Auburn.”

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